1951-1960

Shakti Samanta – Singapore (1960)

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Synopsis:
Ramesh is responsible for looking after rubber exports in Singapore on behalf of his employer, Shyam, based in India. When Ramesh suddenly disappears, Shyam travels to Singapore to unravel the mystery behind his absence, and is himself embroiled in a mystery, as well as arrested for a murder, he claims he did not commit. Read More »

Jean-Pierre Melville – Quand tu liras cette lettre AKA When You Read This Letter (1953)

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Wikipedia wrote:
After their parents die in a road accident, a strongly moral young woman named Thérèse Voise leaves a convent shortly before taking her vows in order to care for her younger sister Denise and run the family stationery shop with her. Thérèse is very protective of Denise and becomes concerned when her sister strikes up an acquaintance with Max a young amateur boxer and garage mechanic. Max is a self-centered drifter who is conducting numerous different relationships with girls at nightclubs. He is also pursuing a wealthy married woman, managing to get employment as her chauffeur and become her lover. Read More »

Teuvo Tulio – Mustasukkaisuus AKA Jealousy (1953)

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Teuvo Tulio’s remake of his 1946 film, Levoton veri AKA Restless Blood, possibly even wilder and more surrealistic than the original. Enjoy!
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Elia Kazan – Wild River (1960)

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Quote:
DESPITE a tempestuous title, “Wild River,” which came to both the Victoria and Sixty-eighth Street Playhouse yesterday, emerges as an interesting but strangely disturbing drama rather than a smashing study of a historic aspect of the changing American scene.

In focusing his color cameras on the South and the Southerners affected by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the early Nineteen Thirties, producer-director Elia Kazan, oddly, enough, distracts a viewer with a romance that shares importance with the social and economic upheaval that unquestionably is closest to the heart of this movie matter. In following two courses simultaneously, the potential force of “Wild River” has been diminished. Read More »

Andrzej Wajda – Popiól i Diament AKA Ashes and Diamonds (1958)

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Introduction & Synopsis from Allmovie.com
This is the last film in the trilogy that began Andrzej Wajda’s career as a director. Preceding this wartime drama are Pokolenie (1955) and Kanal (1957). Once again, Wajda presents a strong anti-war statement, this time in the personae of two men who are given orders on the last day of World War II in Poland to murder a leading communist. The orders come from the part of the resistance that opposes the new communist regime. One of Wajda’s favorite performers and a friend, Zbigniew Cybulski, plays the man who eventually pulls the trigger and kills the communist leader — and the results are not what he expected. In 1959, Popiol I Diament won in competition at the British Academy Awards and at the Venice Film Festival. Read More »

Jean-Luc Godard – À bout de souffle AKA Breathless (1960)

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Quote:

Many great movies are classics. A few stand as landmarks. The merest handful—perhaps four or five in a century—deserve to be called revolutions. Breathless belongs unequivocally in the final category. Since its first screening in 1960, Jean-Luc Godard’s astonishing debut has lost none of its power to thrill an audience or change the way we see the world.

Godard dedicated the film to Monogram Pictures, the company which made the low-rent gangster cheapies that Breathless was drawing on and greatly sending up. Jean-Paul Belmondo plays Michel, a small-time crook who kills a highway patrolman. Though on the lam to Italy, he heads to Paris and hooks up with his girlfriend Patricia, a boyish American whose allure is her cool capriciousness. As they talk, make love and lackadaisically dodge the cops, Godard shows them to be the kind of young people that the movies had never before shown—alive in the present tense, oblivious to conventional morality, eager to try on world views like so many hats. Theirs is an instinctive existentialism, and Godard’s leading actors make it almost impossibly glamorous. Read More »

Berthold Viertel – The Passing of the Third Floor Back (1935)

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David Cairns wrote:
I’ve now seen the film, and I thought it was excellent. Imperfect, yes, but fascinating and unique. The closest comparison I can come up with is Strange Cargo, Frank Borzage’s weird religious allegory which deals with a gang of convicts escaping from a tropical prison island, finding salvation along the way. But The Passing of the Third Floor Left brings its rogues’ gallery into contact with the numinous in a modern London hotel.

What both films have in common is Jesus, encorpsified (to use Flann O’Brien’s word) as a convict in the Borzage and as a myseterious tenant in Berthold Viertel’s film. More to the point, embodied by the august personage of Conrad Veidt, whose presence makes Viertel’s expressionist touches seem wholly legitimate and rooted in the old world of Caligari. Read More »